Quality assurance equipment | steering system safety testing

Coventry-based steering system specialist, Pailton Engineering has added to its quality assurance (QA) equipment with the addition of an Absolute Arm 7-axis with RS5 laser scanner manufactured by Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence. This articulated measuring arm offers tactile probing and surfacing scanning of steering parts, to generate a precise 3D image of intricate products on-screen, with precise measurements of its geometry. 

The Absolute Arm has certification in accordance to ISO 10360-12 for probing accuracy and the scanning accuracy is to ISO 10360-8 Annex D standards. The new arm adds a new layer of QA for customers receiving the steering part deliverables in safety critical markets, such as the military or commercial vehicle sector. 

Designed for lightness and usability, the engineers are already putting the equipment to good use. They can now generate high-speed 3D scanning for surfaces and features on a wide range of finishes and materials — ideal for the varied and complex parts that come off the factory’s production line.

“We have the capabilities to measure very large products by creating a leap frog alignment using features present or added to a product,” explained Matthew Pease, engineer at Pailton Engineering. “We can move the arm into a new position where we can still reach and re-measure the same features used to create the leap frog alignment and gain access to areas on the product inaccessible from the original position of the arm. This enables us to move round large products to gain full access to all characteristics required to be measured.

“All the measurement data can be combined and used to define the actual and theoretical features and characteristics for the geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T) drawing requirements. The information can be presented in a single report using the master alignment strategy to drawing. A good example would be measuring a large vehicle, which would require the Absolute Arm to be continuously repositioned to inspect the complete vehicle.

Quality assurance equipment | steering system safety testing“With a fully certified, wide scan line capable of 752,000 points per second on any surface, this investment has transformed our QA processes. The scanner also allows for reverse engineering capabilities by scanning an item, then creating a mesh to be rendered for a fully surfaced CAD model. We’ve used other portable coordinate measuring machines for some time now, but this new bit of kit is next-level.”

Pailton Engineering manufactures a wide range of steering parts, including drop arms (pictured), steering shafts and steering columns, which will all now benefit from this boost to QA processes. For more information on the custom design options available to vehicle manufacturers, and the business’s QA processes following production, contact sales@pailton.com.

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